Dec 30, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) warms up before the start of the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
On paper, what the Dolphins appear to be doing in free agency and what they have already done in free agency is amazing. Re-signing Brian Hartline and Chris Clemons, tagging Randy Starks, adding Dannell Ellerbe, Mike Wallace, and Phillip Wheeler and entertaining Eric Winston, Dustin Keller, and Michael Bennett is mind boggling. The problem is that all of these moves, intended to make the team better, is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on a very young QB.
Ryan Tannehill had his ups and his downs last season and many believe that he will improve by leaps and bounds this season however that is not a guarantee. The Dolphins additions of free agents is a sign that they want to win. Expect to win. And with those internal expectations comes a lot more external expectations. As from the fanbase.
Dolphins fans have not bee too kind in recent years to the team or their players and surely not Jeff Ireland and Tony Sparano. QB’s have felt the same threats as Chad Henne was booed at his first in house scrimmage among chants for Kyle Orton. While Ireland is doing what he can to make the team better this year there is no guarantee that it will produce so much as a .500 season. Which would inevitably rally the call for Ireland’s job.
The Dolphins have been spending freely. Partly because they have the money, partly because they need the playmakers, and partly because they have to show the Miami community that unlike the Marlins, they are not going to scrap the team after stadium upgrades. Despite the responsibility of those calling these shots, it’s the shoulders of Ryan Tannehill that will be weighted with the burden to succeed.
Tannheill will enter his sophomore season with more weapons at his disposal than he had last year. If the pieces fall into place, he will have a top speed burning WR, a familiar 1,000 yard receiver in Brian Hartline, and a new seam threat TE. In addition the Dolphins offensive line will look different as Jake Long will have moved on and Jonathan Martin will officially move to the left side.
With all the changes, it is going be interesting to see how this team comes together. History has shown that rarely does buying a team give you a winning entity. All the pieces must work together and this upcoming season, Ryan Tannehill must make those upgrades to his game. Otherwise, it’s likely more than Jeff Ireland will be looking for work heading into 2014.